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Bright Futures SA Forum 2024

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Bright Futures Forums bring strategic leaders and high-level stakeholders together to engage in best-practice conversations.

Join our one-day state and territory-specific forums that fosters cross-jurisdictional, cross-sector, and cross-agency collaboration by exploring policy and organisational level approaches.

All Bright Futures forums can be attended in person or online and are open to senior managers, clinical leads, department heads, and frontline workers interested in wider research.

The theme for the South Australia Forum 2024 is Promising practice in responding to children who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviours.


Commissioner Helen Connolly, 
Commissioner for Children & Young People

Helen Connolly became South Australia’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2017.  The position was established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016.  The Commissioner promotes and advocates for the rights, development and wellbeing of all children and young people in South Australia, with a special focus to engage with and listen to children who aren’t usually heard. Helen has 30 years’ experience as a leader in human services.  Throughout her career, Helen has taken an active advocacy role on the main policy issues that impact on the wellbeing of Australian families and children, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention strategies.

Professor Dale Tolliday OAM, NSW Health Senior Clinical Advisor Sexual and Violent Behaviour and The Sydney Children's Hospital Network Senior Clinical Advisor Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Program (CYPSS)

Dale is the NSW Health Senior Clinical Advisor Sexual and Violent Behaviour and The Sydney Children's Hospital Network Senior Clinical Advisor Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Program (CYPSS).  Dale is also Honorary Professor of Practice, School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong. Dale is based at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and NSW Ministry of Health. Dale’s work with people who have sexually harmed others spans over 30 years. Prior to this Dale worked in a variety of child, adolescent and family mental health settings. In 2014 Dale was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his work in this field. He has a particular interest in training and professional standards for people working with those who have sexually harmed children. Dale is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers and a founding member and past President of the Australia and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse (ANZATSA). Dale also consults widely with individuals and organisations regarding prevention and responding to harmful sexual behavior by children, adolescents and adults. Dale has published work related to children and their sexual safety including co-authoring a book "Therapy with Harming Fathers, Victimised Children and their Mothers after Parental Sexual Assault: Forging Enduring Safety" (2018) in which insights from working with harming fathers and families for over 25 years are shared.

Dr Deirdre Thompson, Director of Therapeutic and Support Services, Bravehearts Foundation

Dr Deirdre Thompson is Bravehearts’ Director of Therapeutic and Support Services (since 2014). Deirdre holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, with over 30 years of experience both in the UK and Australia in both Forensic and Community Settings. Deirdre currently provides oversight to all Bravehearts client services, including Therapeutic Counselling for children and families impacted by child sexual abuse, Turning Corners Programs for young people engaging in harmful sexual behaviours, Redress Support Services, and our National Information and Support Service. Deirdre was instrumental in developing and implementing the Bravehearts Turning Corners Program, a program aimed at providing early intervention and response to young people engaging in or at risk of engaging in harmful sexual behaviors, which was recognised in the Australian Institute of Criminology Awards in 2021 for its innovation and contribution for early intervention and prevention program. She is a member of the National Clinical Reference Group for Children Exhibiting Harmful Sexual Behaviours, which was established as part of the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021 – 2030.

Alan Jenkins, NADA Consulting

Alan has worked in a range of multi-undisciplinary teams addressing violence and abusive behaviour for more than 35 years. Rather than tire from this work, he has become increasingly intrigued with possibilities for the discovery of ethical, respectful and accountable ways of relating. The valuing of ethics, fairness and the importance of protest against injustice has led him to stray considerably from the path prescribed in his early training as a psychologist, towards a political analysis of abuse.

Alan’s most recent publication is ‘Becoming Ethical : A Parallel Political Journey With Men Who Have Abused,’ published in 2009.

He was a director of Nada, an independent service that provided intervention in family abuse, violence and workplace harassment. He managed the Mary St. Program for young people who have engaged in sexually harmful behaviour, along with their caregivers and communities.

Dr Tessa Opie, Director, inyourskin

Danika Phelps, Assistant Director, National Office for Child Safety (NOCS)

Danika (she/her) is an Assistant Director in the Understanding Sexual Behaviours and Improving Evidence team within the National Office for Child Safety (National Office). Danika lives on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra with her partner and dog (3-year-old English Staffy). Since joining the National Office in June 2022, Danika contributes to the implementation of measures under the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030 related to enhancing national responses to children with harmful sexual behaviours. She is currently working on the development of the National Clinical and Therapeutic Framework. Danika is a Social Worker and is passionate about safety and wellbeing for children and young people.


09:00 – 09:30      Arrival and Registration

09:30 – 09:40   Welcome to Country

Isaac Hannam, proud Southern-Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri man

09:40 – 09:45      Introduction to Bright Futures                                 
Beth McNamara, National Education Manager, Daniel Morcombe Foundation

09:45 – 09:55      Opening Address
Commissioner Helen Connolly, Commissioner for Children & Young People

09:55 – 10:40      Australia’s shared definition of consent: Protective or risky?
Dr Tessa Opie, Director, inyourskin

10:40 – 11:10      Holding Shame without Shaming: Working with young people and harmful sexual            behaviours                                   

Alan Jenkins, NADA Consulting

11:10 – 11:30       Morning tea

11:30 – 12:30       The NSW Public Health Approach to Problematic and Harmful Sexual Behaviour of Children
Professor Dale Tolliday OAM, NSW Health Senior Clinical Advisor Sexual and Violent Behaviour and The Sydney Children's Hospital Network Senior Clinical Advisor Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Program (CYPSS)

12:30 – 13:15       Turning Corners – Establishing an Early Intervention Service Model for Harmful Sexual Behaviours
Dr Deirdre Thompson, Director of Therapeutic and Support Services, Bravehearts Foundation

13:15 – 14:00       Lunch

14:00 – 14:45       Panel
Professor Dale Tolliday OAM, NSW Health | Dr Deirdre Thompson, Bravehearts | Alan Jenkins, NADA Consulting | Dr Tessa Opie, inyourskin

14:45 – 15:00       Update from the National Office for Child Safety on enhancing national approaches to children and young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour
Danika Phelps, Assistant Director, National Office for Child Safety (NOCS)

15:00 – 15:30       Communities of Practice / Forum Close

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